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Golf Road Trip: Sea to Mountains

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Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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With more than 350 golf courses from the coast to the mountains, South Carolina is the perfect destination for a golf road trip. With a little planning, you can tee off on luxurious Kiawah Island in the morning and round out the 18th hole in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains all in the same day. Here's how.

Arrival

A short 21 miles outside of historic downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is nestled on 10,000 acres of tidal marsh and maritime forest with five championship golf courses, premier restaurants, shopping, gorgeous beaches, a hotel, spa and so much more. The island's world-famous Ocean Course is your first destination, and you'll want to get an early start to this action-packed day - so be sure to make an early morning tee time so you won't miss a thing.

Breakfast

Start with breakfast at Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary, a five-star oceanfront hotel in the heart of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Named “Best Downhome Cookery” by the prestigious Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Jasmine Porch’s seasonal menus are inspired by the region’s abundance of local seafood and produce. All-day dining begins with breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and their signature dish of shrimp and grits—buttered shrimp over organic grits topped with a tomato gravy made up of sweet pepper and onions with Tasso ham—is served during every meal period. If you’re pressed for time, they offer a selection of cereals, bagels and oatmeal, but it’s their specialties of strawberry shortcake French toast, Lowcountry eggs benedict and southern stack pancakes that are sure to keep your hunger pains at bay.

Round 1

After fueling up, it's time to hit the links! Host of the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championship, The Ocean Course was named by Golf Digest as "America's Toughest Course" and the fourth-best overall public course in the United States. The Ocean Course boasts the most seaside holes of any golf course in the Northern Hemisphere and is also designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

If time permits after playing a round of nine or 18 on The Ocean Course, head over to the island's Sanctuary Spa, a premier facility within Kiawah Island Golf Resort and winner of the Forbes Five Star Award. This luxury spa offers a complete menu of services to rejuvenate guests, including golf-focused treatments like the Kiawah Golf Ball Massage, the Foot Joy foot treatment and the Athletic Recovery Massage.

Lunch

Summerville is right on the way from Kiawah to the Upstate, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch and a little light shopping on your way to play golf in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This historic town is home to hundreds of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's dotted by plenty of quaint local eateries and charming shops.

If authentic South Carolina barbecue is what you crave, try Baker's BBQ. This local establishment offers outdoor dining and serves up multi award-winning barbecue and homemade sauces with all the traditional fixin's, including tomato pie,which is a must if you've never tried it before.

For traditional Southern fare, check out Eva's on Main, a local "meat and three" restaurant with a cult-like following. No matter what day you visit Eva's, you're guaranteed to get a down-home taste of the Lowcountry you won't find anywhere else.

Shopping

After lunch, check out People, Places & Quilts, a 6,000-square-foot quilting and fabric store in the heart of downtown Summerville. Even if you aren't a quilter, this iconic Summerville shop will take you back in time, so it's definitely worth a quick peek inside.

If antiquing is your thing, there are dozens of shops around town that are designated as part of the South Carolina Antique Trail. Relic Revival on West 2nd St. specializes in "lovely and affordable" furniture, kitchenware, glass and barware, so you're sure to find something special to take home here. Or, if you're looking for one-of-a-kind gifts, vintage posters, unique apparel or other assorted Southern goodies, The Savvy Rose boutique has it all. With so many shops to choose from downtown, you may just have to make a second trip to Summerville.

Round 2

Make your way Upstate via I-26 to River Falls Plantation in Duncan, South Carolina, featuring the Upstate's one and only Gary Player Signature golf course. Situated along the South Tyger River, this course is known for its lush greens, challenging pin placements and gorgeous mountain views. You may want to bring along a light jacket for a late afternoon or early evening round on this Upstate course.

Dinner

If you feel like going out on the town for dinner after round two of golf, freshen up in the clubhouse at River Falls and scoot over to The Kennedy in historic downtown Spartanburg. Chef William Cribb’s latest venture, The Kennedy’s art deco décor makes for an enticing dining atmosphere, and the cocktails are designed in-house with incredible attention to detail. Guests can order steak, chicken fried quail or pork shoulder with Carolina Gold rice for dinner and complete the meal with a sweet corn creme brulee.

And, if you feel like exploring the Hub City's charming downtown square a little longer, check in at the Spartanburg Marriott just a few blocks away and extend your golf getaway an extra night.

Discover Writer
Discover Writer
More from "Discover Writer"
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.